Changla Pass- A Journey through Splendor

 In Homestays, Kashmir, places to eat, Places To Visit, Travel

Located within a stunning landscape, the beautiful Changla Pass beckons adventurers and nature lovers alike. This third-highest motorable route, carved through majestic peaks and verdant valleys, offers an unforgettable journey filled with breathtaking vistas and serene surroundings.

 

As you wind through the pass, each turn reveals a new perspective of the natural splendor that defines this remarkable destination. Whether you’re seeking a thrilling road trip, a perfect spot for photography, or a tranquil escape, this mountain pass promises an experience that will leave you in awe of nature’s grandeur.

 

Ladakh boasts some of India’s most renowned high-altitude mountain passes, with Chang La Pass being a prominent example. This pass, the third highest motorable one in the world, is situated on the route to Pangong Tso Lake, a popular tourist destination in Ladakh, making it a must-visit on any bike trip on your Leh-Ladakh Tour Packages. The breathtaking views from this area are bound to leave any traveler awestruck. Missing out on this captivating scenery would only lead to regret for not experiencing something extraordinary. Therefore, ensure you include a visit to Changla Pass in your itinerary without fail.

Changla Pass- A Journey through Splendor

Changla Pass- A Journey through Splendor

What is the Changla Pass?

Situated at nearly 5,360 meters above sea level, Chang La Pass is one of the most amazing places to visit in Leh-Ladakh and is named after the revered saint Changla Baba, with a temple at the pass dedicated to him. The pass, which spans approximately 15 kilometers, is maintained by the Indian Army.

It is sometimes claimed to be the second highest, with Merisimik La or Mana Pass potentially holding that title. The pass is accessible from Leh via Kharu and Sekti village on an asphalt road, with steep climbs and descents requiring careful driving.

The stretch of Chang La Pass features loose dirt and slush on both sides and in the summer, small streams cut across the road, posing a significant challenge for bikers attempting to cross.

History of Chang La Pass

History of Chang La Pass

History of Chang La Pass

The snow-covered Changla Pass derives its name from the term “Chang,” meaning south, translating to “move in the south” or “move towards the south.” Local folklore suggests the presence of a saint known as Changla Baba, who purportedly dwelled near the pass and was revered for his extraordinary abilities. It’s believed that the pass is named in honor of this saint due to his association with the area.

A temple near the pass serves as a tribute to Changla Baba, commemorating his years of residency nearby. Local inhabitants attribute supernatural powers to the temple, reminiscent of those possessed by the saint, which draws numerous tourists to visit Chang La Pass.

Changla Pass at a glance

Ladakh is renowned for its high-altitude mountain passes, some of the best Ladakh mountain biking areas, and home to some of the world’s highest motorable roads. One notable pass, Chang La Pass, stands at an impressive 5,360 meters above sea level, making it the third-highest motorable pass globally. Named after Sadhu Changla Baba, the pass features a temple dedicated to him.

This area attracts tourists worldwide due to its serene natural beauty and bike riding – one of the best things to do in Ladakh. The closest settlement is the small Tangste hamlet, which is the primary gateway to the Changthang plateau in the Himalayas.

 

These high-altitude passes make road trips to Ladakh especially popular. Traversing these routes, with their snow-capped peaks, barren landscapes, and rolling valleys, enhances the adventure of traveling through Leh and Ladakh. To reach the famous Pangong Tso Lake, one of India’s largest high-altitude lakes, travelers must pass through Chang La. Tourists can also enjoy yak rides at the pass. Additionally, the Indian army provides hot tea at a tea point here, and public conveniences are available, unlike many other passes in Ladakh.

Chang La is on the route from Leh to Pangong Lake. Its name means “Pass towards the South” or “Pass in the South” (Chang – south, La – Pass). Despite myths, the pass is not named after a Sadhu Changla Baba; rather, the baba would be named after the pass. The nearby town of Tangste is the closest settlement, and the pass serves as the main gateway to the Changthang Plateau in the Himalayas.

The nomadic tribes in the region are known as the Changpa. Additionally, the world’s highest research station, operated by the Defence Research and Development Organisation, is located at Chang La, at an altitude of 17,500 feet.

Why is Chang La Pass famous?

Changla Pass- A Journey through Splendor

Chang La Pass is renowned among tourists for several reasons. Situated at an astonishing altitude, it offers spectacular scenic beauty. Notably, the pass, which is protected by the Indian Army due to its proximity to the Chinese border, remains snow-covered throughout the year. The breathtaking beauty of this location surpasses all expectations, leaving visitors mesmerized.

Changla Pass is currently under the protection and maintenance of the Indian Army, given its proximity to the Chinese border. Visitors to the pass receive a warm welcome from the Indian Army, who also offer complimentary hot tea. While the road leading to Changla Pass is typically accessible year-round, occasional closures due to snow accumulation may occur. It’s advisable to check road conditions before embarking on your journey.

Chang La Pass Travel Guide

While visiting this location, it’s crucial to take necessary precautions due to the cold, chilly climate, and reduced oxygen levels at higher altitudes. Medical advice suggests avoiding prolonged stays at the summit, recommending no more than 20-25 minutes, as people are susceptible to acute mountain sickness in Ladakh.

Adequate warm clothing with ear protection and suitable footwear are essential, along with regular consumption of warm water to withstand the extreme cold. Carrying a medical kit containing medications for altitude sickness, headaches, nausea, etc., is highly advisable as a precautionary measure.

Due to its high altitude and cold climate, visitors may encounter certain challenges during their visit to Changla Pass, including oxygen deficiency. It’s recommended to carry an oxygen cylinder if planning an extended stay to alleviate potential breathlessness. Proper clothing is essential to withstand the freezing temperatures, including warm attire and mufflers to cover the ears. Special shoes designed for cold weather conditions should be added for comfort and safety.

Although Changla Pass primarily offers views of snow-capped mountains, it’s advised to allocate around half an hour to appreciate its beauty fully. By considering these precautions before your visit, you can ensure an enjoyable and barrier-free experience at Changla Pass.

How to reach Chang La Pass

How to reach Chang La Pass

How to reach Chang La Pass

There are several transportation options available for traveling to Changla Pass, providing flexibility based on individual preferences.

By Air: The closest airport to Changla Pass is Leh Airport, situated 36.5 km away. Jeep services are readily available for transportation from Leh to Changla Pass, offering convenience for travelers.

By Train: Jammu Railway Station serves as the nearest railway station to Leh. Bus services are accessible from Jammu Railway Station to Leh, facilitating transportation to the region. When planning a trip to Ladakh, it’s imperative not to overlook the beauty of Changla Pass. 

Things to do at Chang La Pass

Crossing Chang La Pass in Leh Ladakh is an exhilarating experience that truly challenges your adventurous spirit. The first item on your agenda should undoubtedly be conquering this pass. Once accomplished, revel in the breathtaking vistas that surround you. Don’t forget to capture plenty of photos; these memories will be cherished for a lifetime.

As you approach Chang La Pass, you’ll pass by the (Defense Research and Development Organisation) DRDO high-altitude workstation, a site noted in the Limca Book of World Records for its extraordinary altitude. Additionally, it’s the site where Yoga was performed on International Yoga Day, adding to its significance. A visit to the Chang La Baba Temple is a must, and you can also unwind at a small café nearby, indulging in tea and refreshments.

Nearby attractions to Chang La Pass

There are quite a few tourist attractions around Chang La Pass Ladakh, offering further exploration opportunities. Here are some noteworthy attractions you should consider visiting during your trip to Chang La Pass.

  • Chang La Baba Temple

The temple located at the summit of the pass is devoted to Changla Baba. While not extravagant in appearance, it has become a sought-after tourist destination due to the deep-rooted belief of the locals in Changla Baba. According to tradition, it is essential to seek Changla Baba’s blessing before embarking on a journey through the past.

 

  • Tangtse Village

Nestled close to Changla Pass, Tangste village is a charming settlement comprising just 126 households. Situated amidst picturesque mountains, Tangste is graced by the presence of the Harong stream, which meanders through patches of lush greenery on the valley floor. While there may not be many attractions, the breathtaking beauty of Tangste is captivating, making it a must-photograph destination.

 

  • Hemis Gompa

Founded anew in 1672 under the patronage of Ladakhi king Sengge Namgyal, Hemis monastery in Ladakh stands as a Tibetan monastery following the Drukpa Lineage. It serves as the site for the yearly Ladakh Hemis festival, a vibrant celebration honoring Padmasambhava. While Hemis monastery may not boast the architectural grandeur of Thiksey and Diskit, its allure is heightened on misty mornings, rendering it a truly breathtaking sight.

 

  • Pangong Tso Lake

Pangong Tso Lake, straddling the border between India and China, is a landlocked body of saline water that freezes over entirely in winter. Located within an endorheic basin at an elevation of 14,270 feet above sea level, the lake attracts numerous migratory birds despite the absence of aquatic life. Its timeless charm and mesmerizing blue hue often leave visitors in awe-inspiring silence.

 

  • Changthang Plateau

Changthang is an elevated Tibetan plateau characterized by expansive highlands and majestic lakes. Inhabited by Changpas, a semi-nomadic Tibetan community, Changthang exemplifies harmonious coexistence with nature in the cold desert environment with the presence of Changthang Wildlife Sanctuary. The region’s unpredictable and harsh weather deters many from venturing across its lands.

 

  • Stakna Monastery

Located approximately 53 kilometers away, Stakna Monastery is also referred to as the Tiger’s Nose Monastery due to its distinctive resemblance to a tiger leaping into the sky. Within the monastery, visitors can explore various highlights such as a spacious assembly hall, numerous idols, and a towering 7-foot statue of Lord Buddha.

 

  • Thiksey Monastery

Situated at an elevation of around 3,600 meters in the Ladakh Valley, Thiksey Monastery in Ladakh stands as one of the largest and most renowned monasteries in Ladakh. Notably, it bears a striking resemblance to Tibet’s Potala Palace. Within the monastery, visitors can explore various attractions such as the Maitreya Buddha statue, Tara Temple, and Lamokhang Temple.

Top Hotels Near Chang La

Top Hotels Near Chang La

Top Hotels Near Chang La
  • Ladakh Sarai Resort

Even if they are not one of the best hotels in Leh Ladakh, Ladakh Sarai, aims to provide immersive experiences that embody the rich culture and traditions of the region. While preserving the essence, the resort endeavors to elevate traveler’s stay with fresh perspectives.

The premises feature an additional building overlooking the Stok Range of the Himalayas, offering unparalleled views of the charming village of Saboo. You can wake up to witness the mesmerizing Himalayan Hues and the graceful movements of shifting clouds around the majestic mountains.

Travelers can watch as the rugged peaks of Stok Kangri transform overnight under a blanket of snow. Blending comfort and luxury seamlessly with nature, Ladakh Sarai provides a profound sense of peace and solitude rarely found elsewhere. 

Choose from a range of accommodations, including six beautifully designed mud huts, four duplex family suites with two private balconies each, and five chalet rooms with separate living areas and private balconies, all offering breathtaking views of the Stok Range. Additionally, two heritage rooms, once an integral part of a Ladakhi family home with a 150-year history, now grace Ladakh Sarai as part of their Heritage Wing.

Location – Ayu Saboo, Saboo, Leh

 

  • Ratna Hotel Ladakh

Inaugurated on June 27, 2014, Ratna Hotel Ladakh extends a warm Ladakhi hospitality, providing a homely atmosphere amidst the serenity of nature. Situated just 8 km east of bustling Leh Town, travelers can find solace in this charming property located in a rural locale near the Indus River.

The rooftop terrace offers unparalleled panoramic views of the Indus Valley and the majestic peaks of the Himalayan mountain range, spanning from Stok Kangri to Khardung-La. Experience breathtaking sunrises and sunsets, and at night, marvel at the Milky Way and the countless twinkling stars.

Location – Chuchot-Yokma, Near Choglamsar Bridge, Leh

 

  • The Driftwood Ladakh

The Driftwood Ladakh, a boutique hotel located in Leh, promises a distinct and personalized experiential stay amidst the embrace of nature. Each guest room boasts stunning views and is tastefully designed to cater to the discerning traveler, offering worldly luxuries while fostering harmony with nature.

 

Situated in the tranquil surroundings of Shey, near the Indus River, the retreat is conveniently located just a short 20-minute drive from Leh Airport. The ancient Shey Palace and Monastery are within walking distance, a mere 800 meters away. Retaining Ladakh’s heritage, with mud-plastered walls and turrets reminiscent of the age-old architecture of Ladakhi forts, locally known as “Khar,” this property offers the quintessential Ladakh experience.

 

Unlike typical city hotels, guests are welcomed as friends and indulged throughout their stay, providing a serene sanctuary for rejuvenating the mind and soul amidst nature’s embrace. Whether your stay is brief or extended, departing from this enchanting place will leave you feeling a sense of calm and a deeper connection with nature.

Location – Shey Yomka near Church, Shey

Best time to visit Chang La Pass

Best time to visit Chang La Pass

Best time to visit Chang La Pass

Chang La Pass in Leh Ladakh is inaccessible during the winter months due to the substantial snowfall it experiences. The pass is typically open for visitation from May to October, making this period the ideal time to plan your visit.

To access Chang La Pass, which lies en route to Pangong Lake, an Inner Line Permit (ILP) is necessary as it falls within a restricted area. You can conveniently apply for the ILP online, requiring only identity proof such as your Aadhar Card, Voter ID, or Driving License.

Also, check out the permits for Ladakh road trip for more information.

 

The Road Ahead

Traversing the beautiful Changla Pass offers an unparalleled experience of nature’s majesty and tranquility. The journey through this scenic route, with its breathtaking views and ever-changing landscapes, promises an adventure that is both exhilarating and serene. 

Whether you’re a road trip enthusiast, a nature lover, or a photography aficionado, the Chang La Pass in Leh Ladakh provides a perfect escape from the everyday hustle, leaving you with memories of an awe-inspiring journey through one of nature’s most splendid creations. So, pack your bags, fuel up your vehicle, and set off on a journey to explore the wonders that await along the spectacular Changla Pass.

What makes Chang La so famous?

There are numerous reasons why Chang La Pass in Leh Ladakh is popular among tourists. Positioned at an astonishing altitude, it offers breathtaking scenic beauty. Interestingly, this pass, safeguarded by the Indian Army due to its proximity to the Chinese border, remains snow-covered year-round.

What precautions to take while visiting Chang La Pass?

It’s important to be aware that the high altitude and cold climate at Chang La Pass can cause oxygen-related issues. If you plan to spend an extended period at the pass, it’s essential to carry an oxygen cylinder. Many travelers have reported experiencing breathlessness during their visit to this location.

What permission do I need to visit Chang La Pass?

An Inner Line Permit is required to visit several locations, including Khardung La Pass, Nubra Valley, and Shayok. You will also need one for Chang La Pass, Tangtse, and Pangong Lake, as well as Chumathang, Tsaga La, and Tso Moriri Lake.

Which is higher Chang La or Khardung La?

Chang La, located in Ladakh, India, is higher than Khardung La.

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